Yemeni girls attend school in Sanaa, Yemen, on the first International Day of the Girl Child, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012. The United Nations has declared October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child. Girls face double discrimination due to their gender and age, and are the most marginalized and discriminated group across the globe. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed) | AP
Celebrating its second year, the International Day of the Girl Child focuses its advocacy efforts on lifting up the most marginalized group in the world. This year, the theme is girls' education. Around the world, 57 million children are currently not in school, which is a devastating fact with far-reaching effects.
By improving access for girls to go to school, we're not just sharpening young minds -- we're concurrently reducing mortality and poverty rates and creating a more democratic world for girls everywhere.
Below, check out why International Day of the Girl Child matters and be reminded as to why you're a lucky girl.
You Probably Don't Risk Your Life To Go To School
Across the globe, 57 million children are not enrolled in school, according to a recent UNESCO and Save the Children report. On top of that, those who do find their way into a classroom in conflict-affected countries are often at risk. In 2012, according to Save the Children, there were more than 3,600 documented attacks on education -- including violence, torture and intimidation against children and teachers that resulted in death or grave injuries. Organizations, such as the Malala Fund, are committed to bringing education opportunities to girls around the world. Learn how to help here.
You Probably Aren't Forced To Get Married Young
Child marriages are on the rise due to an increase in global poverty and crises, meaning they're less likely to finish school, according to World Vision. Half of all girls living in the world's least-developed countries have been married before the age of 18. Organizations such as World Vision advocate for child brides and provide research and resources. Learn how to help here.
You Probably Aren't A Victim Of Child Trafficking
Though we often think of child trafficking as a strictly international issue, it's a serious problem domestically that puts girls' education and health at risk. As proof, the FBI carried out a sting operation in late July in 76 U.S. cities, recovering 105 sexually exploited children. Organizations such as Shared Hope International are working to eradicate sex trafficking in the U.S. and around the world. Learn how to help here.
You're Probably Not At Risk For Female Genital Mutilation
More girls than ever before are saying “no” to female genital mutilation, according to a recent UNICEF report. Still, 30 million girls remain at risk for being subjected to this practice that’s been condemned by the UN and that comes with a multitude of health risks. Organizations such as UNICEF, which is currently working in 22 countries, are working to put an end to Female Genital Mutilation. Learn how to help here.
You Probably Had A Good Chance Of Making It To 5
Every day, nearly 6,000 children under age 5 die from malaria, diarrhea or pneumonia, according to the UN’s children agency. While childhood death rates have halved since 1990, more advocacy work needs to be done to keep kids from succumbing to preventable diseases. Organizations, such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, work to ensure that mothers and their babies remain healthy during pregnancy, childbirth and early childhood. Learn how to help here.
You Are Probably Not An Exploited Refugee Child
Refugee children are particularly vulnerable to exploitation. In Syria, specifically, child refugees children who have been displaced due to Syria's civil war are at greater risk for abuse, child labor and early marriage, according to UNICEF. What's more, they are likely unable to attend school. Many have become child laborers working in fields up to 10 hours a day. Organizations such as UNICEF are providing funds, schooling and other resources for refugees who have fled Syria. Learn how to help here.